Portantino, Yee: Sunshine has fallen on deaf ears at CSU

SACRAMENTO – This week marks the observance of Sunshine Week and all across the country there are calls for public agencies to move toward a more transparent and accountable government. Unfortunately, that idea seems to have fallen on deaf ears at the California State University according to Assemblymember Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge) and Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco).

In a letter to CSU Chancellor Charles Reed, the legislators wrote, “For several months now, we have been asking the CSU administration to stop clouding the issue and open its books to shed light on executive compensation. Despite repeated attempts to ferret out the truth, recent news reports suggest that CSU officials continue to conceal details about excessive compensation for campus presidents – including tens of thousands of dollars in perks such as housing, car allowances, and retirement and health benefits.”

According to CalWatchDog.com, the president of Cal State Los Angeles makes over $515,000 in total compensation per year; that’s about $200,000 more than what’s listed on CSU’s website. This follows debate about the excessive compensation for San Diego State’s new president who receives base pay in excess of $400,000 per year.

“There is no justification for these bloated salaries and even less justification for hiding the truth from the taxpaying public,” wrote Portantino and Yee. “The need for transparency has never been greater, and thus why we call on you and your administration to use Sunshine Week to come clean with a complete and detailed look at just how CSU executives are paid.”

“At a time when students are being forced out by rising tuition and cutbacks in classes, it is not right to be giving administrators these hefty salaries and perks,” wrote the legislators. “If there are going to be cuts, then university leaders should share in the pain.”

Portantino and Yee are both authoring legislation to rein in the excessive executive compensation at CSU.  Portantino’s AB 1787 would freeze compensation for public employees making over $100,000.  Yee’s SB 967 would prohibit raises for top executives during bad budget years or within two years of a student fee hike.


Contact: Adam J. Keigwin,
(916) 651-4008